INdTV Web Site Launches – TV Network For Young People, By Young People

Al Gore and Joel Hyatt have teamed up to create INdTV, a television network geared at young people to contain programming on politics, current affairs, entertainment, media, and culture. When I first learned about the founding of this network – to be live sometime in 2005 – I was immediately intrigued. To have the opportunity to get into 20 million US homes by TV with a channel that would engage teenagers and/or the 25 year olds is exciting yet very challenging.

Since the founding team is operating in San Francisco, out of apartments and coffee shops at the moment, I contacted them to learn more about it, share ideas I had, and just generally get involved. I hooked up with Jamie Daves last week. Jamie has been involved in high-level politics for most of his 30-odd years and thinks like a savvy entrepreneur. There’s only a handful of people working for INdTV full time at the moment and Jamie is in charge of a lot of different aspects of the up-and-coming network.

Fundamentally, INdTV is still trying to figure everything out. Who is our audience? How do we reach them? How will we be different from MTV and CNN? How can we be edgy and rebel but also smart? And the one million dollar question: what types of shows/programming we will create? I didn’t realize how much on the ground floor things still were, which made my brainstorming session with Jamie all the more exciting. The point I tried to drive home with him was the challenge of the medium, TV. I don’t watch TV – at least I haven’t in several months – mostly because it isn’t “on demand” and the programming for the most part sucks. Thus, for INdTV to engage me (or a growing number of young people) they would have to have a formable web presence. Indeed, blogs seem to be part of the plan. (In fact, I strongly encouraged them to set up a blog right now, to document the work they do putting together a TV network. Not only would they be “walking the walk” but it’d engage a healthy audience before the network is even live.) My other main point to Jamie was the need for the network to be transparent. The last thing young people want is another “evil media” player run by old white guys smoking cigars.

So…check out their web site (which I provided feedback on but too late to get the stupid tattoo off the guy’s arm before they went live) and see if you’d like to become a Digital Correspondent, a full-time position which is bound to be quite interesting and fun.

7 Responses to INdTV Web Site Launches – TV Network For Young People, By Young People

  1. Alexa Smith says:

    Hi Ben, Very thoughtful post! I have to agree with you about the web site – that is going to be the most critical. As soon as I heard this was launching, I was psyched and I’m not even in their target audience age group. There are a lot of creative people in their late 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s who think like the 18-34 age group and use the tools available in the same way so I think they may be surprised at their resulting viewership. (P.S., I agree with you about the tattoo :-) Alexa

  2. Charlie Rose says:

    Hey Folks,

    One anonymous response gets another, huh? Hey Joel, I know that
    drives ya crazy but given that I’m not one of the coverted, what’s the
    trucker hat saying? “Y’ALL FUCK Y’ALL” Guess I was, like you were
    this morning or eight weeks ago when that letter was composed,
    emboldened tell ‘yall how I really think. Quick, shut down the blog
    before I post this! (Why do I have a feeling someone already has…???)

    I was SO NOT impressed by your ill timed rejection letter: nothing
    like getting a big fat no in your email two days before T-Day. But timing
    doesn’t seem to be INdTV’s forte. In its higher than thou tone, you’ve
    confirmed my ongoing suspicion that you’ve all got your thumbs up your
    butts. (Or, young boys’ butts, in one person’s case.) The sloth-like
    quality of your response, the casual feeding of dribs and drabs of
    information, the tiresome liberal vibe… and oh, yes, lest we forget,
    the hints of draconian iron fisted Bushiness: “We’re not capable of
    making sexist remarks! We’re not the party that gave the world a
    blow-job receiving, lying–albeit sax playing, charismatic–Pres.” The
    sum of alll this passive-aggressive degrading bull shit leaves me… COLD.

    Your tepid “offer” well, folks, again, I’d have to refer to you above
    (‘Y’ALL FUCK Y’ALL”) I regret to inform you that my application is the
    last you’ll ever hear of me. If you think you’re going to snare me with any
    more free work, ideas or energy, guess again. This whole “process”
    has been a joke, a transparent effort to enroll people in an as yet
    non-existent tv station? blog? whatever. Besides, “participation” in
    something that already seems ill-defined and badly managed–boy, you’ve just
    managed to create a whole lotta ill will amongst 1950 people without
    really much effort–is an invitation to what? Waiting nine monthes to
    hear if a story is a “good fit” for your crack Teen People marketing
    team to sell with a Wella Balsam commercial?

    I am particularly (UN) impressed by the missive’s Time INC corporate speak. Well,
    not quite typical. A cross between Mr. Rogers (or was that Mr. Den?),
    Seasame Street and the Defense Department. If nothing else is obvious in the
    land of vague, someone’s read Dr. Spock and The Drama of the Gifted Child VERY
    CLOSELY… oops, maybe SHE IS a gifted chil’? The smarmy tone of
    condescension, vague encouragement (me thinks SOMEONE’S a fan of
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, given all of the subtextual golden ticket
    references encoded in the endless endlessness of “the process” or is
    it too many EST sessions? well, Erner Werhard did start in the Bay
    Area, likewise Jim Jones, acid reflux and the end of the democratic
    party as it was known: thks Gavin), the clueless management of an
    application process. Encouraging “participation” probably wasn’t such
    a good idea. A cooler, more discrete approach might have worked in
    the long run but y’all were so intent on secretly “overseeing” (see below,
    “massah”) and feeding off the applications and all the furor you managed
    to create that you forgot… we might be the audience you’re not gonna get.

    BTW, for all your talk about “democratizing” TV, you seem not to
    grasp a fundamental quality about TV: it’s a mass medium, ergo it
    thrives–survives, as I suspect INdTV won’t, once it’s blown through
    all that CalPer $$$ (shades of Salon.com? “please, Massah, just one
    more dolah an’ I’ll get outta the red, ah I promise!”)–on reaching as
    many people as possible. Which, NEWS FLASH, means that so many
    of your high-minded intentions will be jettisoned very quickly and all
    those pretty Benneton DigiCorrespondants will flee the ship, as the
    ship sinks into mediocrity. Oh, it’s already licking at the shores….

    Kindest PERSONAL regards,

    ain’t viewin’ ya,
    ain’t helpin’ ya,
    ain’t namin’ ya,
    ain’t smellin’ ya…
    eeuw. that’s a hint of the really bad taste you left in my mouth.

  3. Kyle Smyth says:

    Earlier in the year, I was recruited by Ezra to apply as a Digital Correspondant for Al Gore’s INdTV. Yesterday, myself and 1950 others, woke… Earlier in the year, I was recruited by Ezra to apply as a Digital Correspondant for Al Gore’s INdTV. Yesterday, myself and 1950 others, woke to read a bizarre rejection letter in my in-box (check out inDtvSUCKS by going to: link to hometown.aol.com)
    Basically, INdTVs deal is this: they’re only hiring i.e., full-time w/medical 50 correspondants. BUT, in the rejection letter, they offer the “opportunity” to contribute stories on a freelance basis (stringers, basically.) Catch is, they make no mention of editorial guidelines, offer zero corporate support and, most importantly, no pay schedule.

    Apparently, Anne, the marketing director (who launched Teen People) has taken a page from all teen mags: “connect” with your audience by dangling the vague possibility of renumeration and/or exposure to your audience while actively encouraging them to freely submit their ideas .

    I guess I’m supposed to “create democratic TV” in my spare time and cross my fingers that they’ll accept my work.

    If this is Al Gore’s idea of a revolution, no wonder the Democrats are sinking so fast: the recruiting “process” of his “network” has been as vague, misleading & inconsistent. High minded but without any grasp of ethical behavior.

    Kyle
    ————————————————————————

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